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Gwendoline Joyce Dean, was the second daughter of Mr and Mrs Staley Pidduck of Corbrook Court, Audlem. She married Geoffrey Dean of Tiresford, Tarporley and they bought Haughton Hall from Brown’s of Chester who had used it for storage during the war.
Joyce gave a silver trophy to Tilstone Fearnall WI which was to be awarded for craft, and was a very good craftswomen herself. She exhibited a smocked dress in the 1952 WI exhibition and there are still some pieces of her work at the Hall.
Joyce was a founder member of Haughton WI and President for 20 years. She would invite all the committee to Haughton Hall for the Christmas committee meeting where there was often canapes and a glass of champagne to share before the business was dealt with. Formalities were strictly followed and committee members addressed as Mrs or Miss. The meetings were held in the same room filmed for the series of ‘Home Fires’ programmes where Haughton Hall featured as the home of their president. Frances Barden.
Haughton WI met in the ‘Mission Room’ in Haughton where a communion service was held once a month. When the hall was sold and turned into a dwelling the WI moved to Faddiley Goodwill Hall and was renamed Haughton and Faddiley and District WI to reflect the wider membership area.
The members of Haughton WI raised enough money to commission an oak arm chair to be specially made which was dedicated in the name of Mrs Dean and which the President uses to sit in at meetings.
Mrs Dean would hold a tea party with races at Haughton Hall each year for the children at Spurstow school.
Joyce was a very keen horsewoman and could often be seen riding around the village on her horse.
Mrs Dean’s great nephew and his wife, Philip and Becky Posnett (who inherited her home, Haughton Hall) kindly invited us to their beautiful garden to celebrate what would have been Joyce Dean’s 100th birthday. We visited the beautiful gardens on Thursday 18 May. Haughton Hall Garden Party
Mrs Dean was our President for 20 years. In 1951 she cycled around the village visiting the local ladies to enquire whether they would join a W.I if she started one in Haughton. My Sister-in-Law was one of those ladies and typed the first programmes. Mrs Dean was an expert at encouraging people to volunteer!
Mrs Dean was a lovely lady for whom we had great affection and held in high esteem. She joined in our activities and I well remember her dancing the Charleston in one of our shows. She was a keen competitor in our own Craft and Produce shows, but her hand knitted bathing costume could have been an embarrassing disaster had she not had a trial run in the bath first. It stretched.
Mr and Mrs Dean were always very hospitable to our W.I so this event is a lovely tribute to her.
Eileen Allwood – Founder Member